Everything is not awesome in the game adaptation of The Lego Movie 2. Emmet may be as happy as ever, but his smile contradicts the true state of things. The world around him has transformed into a wasteland of bricks and sand, and the gameplay that previously put his misfit group of heroes on grand adventures has similarly fallen apart and is a ghost of its former self.

For this sequel, developer TT Games moved away from the tried-and-true Lego formula that players have come to expect from its movie-based experiences. You won’t be collecting gold bricks, hunting down minikits, changing characters for puzzles, or even assembling piles of bricks that you stumble upon. Instead, TT Games created an experience similar to the freeform Lego Worlds game, with players completing small tasks for characters scattered across various open-world environments. While I applaud the decision to try something different, the change fails to capture the spirit of the film, and more importantly, it just isn’t that much fun. The experience is shallow and repetitive with the sole sliver of interest revolving around collecting building pieces for your own customizable world.

The game begins in the post-apocalyptic version of Bricksburg, which is a fitting space for a tutorial that fails to deliver much hope. The first thing you learn is that destroying Lego-made objects produces two kinds of currency: the studs of old, and something new called bricks. If you smash something that is red and blue in color, you receive a handful of bricks of the same shades.

Bricks are needed to assemble various objects, both for the buildings you want to add to your home world, and various tools needed for objectives. This is a fine idea that illuminates the building aspect of Legos, but isn’t put to good use. If a character asks you to build something, you just go into a menu, select that object, determine where to place it, and that’s it. They cheer you on for your deed and you move to the next character. If one of these people requires electricity to power a device, you just need to build a generator. It’s a surprisingly simple activity that serves as the game’s biggest task and it gets old quickly. I grew bored of the core story missions in the first world.

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